Dalhousie Law Journal


air travel, planes, accidents, injuries, Montreal Convention, Warsaw Convention, air carriers, passengers, shippers, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Britain, Australia, torts


The 1999 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (the "Montreal Convention") came into force in 2003. It is the latest in a series of attempts to replace a number of variations on the 1929 Warsaw Convention with a single agreement which regulates the rights and liabilities of international air carriers, their passengers and shippers. At the time, the Montreal Convention was hailed as providing better protection and compensation for victims of air accidents. However despite its recent adoption, in relation to claims for death and personal injuries the Montreal Convention is still firmly planted in the outdated terminology of its predecessor. The effect of this is that many passengers suffering injuries during international carriage are still left without a claim. For example, it is now well established that mental injuries are generally not recognized under the Convention. However, claims for certain injuries which are well associated with air travel - such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (also colloquially known as "economy class syndrome') - are also excluded. This is the recent finding of courts in a number of different jurisdictions, but most significantly in class actions in Britain and Australia. With such results, it is suggested that the basis for excluding these claims under the new Convention should be reconsidered.